tv KQED Newsroom PBS April 7, 2019 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT
tonight on kqed newsriment, a fight heats up over a center for the homeless in san francio. and the comeback of methamphetamine. emergency room visits in san francisco. and state law makers help end conviction records. we begin with pg&e's over hall. it's mreplacesingt of its bord of directors. this after month -- and they face a tough challenge, guiding the comp an through its
restructuring, embezzlement cour meanwhile tough challenges for the mayor of san francisco s well. there's intense opposition to a navigation center on the embarcadero to shelter the homeless. >> here with a wlookost stories and national political developments is kqed's politics correspondent. with wilson, walsh consulting and ci hallreporter for the "san francisco chronicle." welcome to you all. what did the appointments of the new ceo, bill johnson, and the new board of directors tell us? >> it depends on who you ask. pg&e has framed the new ceo as people that have expertise in safety, that there really going to focus on the nuts an bolts pg&e.e what critics ying is this
is ten directors, many who have a lo of ties to wall stree and i think it's importedant to know how things have prugrszed. the stock has gone up drumattedically.we ve seen a lot of pressure around trying to push sacrament oeo tge policies. next twheek governor will be comng out with a set of oprupozales around wild fire generally. and i thing this decision to put th particular group of people and bill johnson in charge is going to stoke -- >> and people now digging through the records andayg when he was duke energy, he was ceo for less than a day a walked away with a $44 million severance package. that doesn't instill confidence from members of the public. >> you have pg&e executives that
have walked away withve snces in the last round of bankruptcies. they go to the public utilities commission and get a guaranteed rate increase. ere's really no consequences to these folks. some political consequences. >> are there really? they know that the state needs them and think that's why they're able to buck everybody in california and saywe would rather listen to wall street. >> there are a lot of steak holders in ts. we have law makers want to have a say. we have wild fire victims. w do you think all of this will play out? >> i think this guy was brought on -- i believe it's the tennessee valley authority he waw coming from. they were pretty sterling from
the reports i've read. he did well financially and for the authority itself. but thisrganization has to come out of chapter 11 bankruptcy and then win t back public trust and their biggest challenge is winning over trust for members who have seen a prettyop catastc -- >> and given how dire the straights are for pg&e, what we've soon with the wild fires, it is pretty remarkable how mucl erage they seem to be maintaining when you couple that with the other utility which the state does not want to see enter chapter 11, ib have a hard time believing anybody but rate payers and taxpayers are going to bethe ones paying. >> san frusko is looking at owying from pg&e's assets and establishing itindependent power system. there was a poll about how oan
francissidents feel. >> it's a very real possibility that they could buy up significant amounts of san francisco oassets. the byzantine nature of bankruptcy court wtol have a lot say about that. this week they put a poll in the field the results have come back. the san francisco public ilities commission. they went fully briefed, full explained on what boouing the assets would mean, in the billions of dollars with a "b". >> and you're buying assets that are s some cases over 100 ye old. you've got a bad infrastructure and billions in upgrades. ther legislatur is going to probably mandate they underground ulities throughout the state, which is probably where they don't need to. it's hard to say that to
who live in the north state who suffered those fires. but there's places where it's appropriate and places where it's not. once you get the legislaturer involved the public utiliti er >> much morer to say on this. but i want to move on to a closclo closely watched local issue. and that is the center she wants to bring to the embarcadero. sheas at a community meeting and got shouted down. there are places with homeless shelters can move in with they're belongings andets. >> i think it's the specific loation. it's on the embarcadero, as people like the say the's ci front yard and not backyard. the reaction has beenn part -- we didn't hearer it from the mayorer before hand.
we heard b fullylked proposal and people felt like they were not given any chant. to have in on the other side of the s equation a lot of people who look at homelessness as the singular -- not singular but most pressing prolem. >> top three. >> they're looking at this issue and saying people are living and dying on our streets and we need get them inside. there is noha problemis not helped by having a roof over your head and the idea of resisting putting people inside a shelter is repuginant to a lot of ople in the city. >> certainly there are those contending this is an area visitedlyot y locals in+$imx san francisco but people the bay area come with their families and kids. >> maybe all over the world. >> and are they not seeing homeless people now? one of the bggests complaints from the tourism board and chamber of commerc is how
upsetting this problem has become, plarticularlytown and in the embarcadero area. that's the arguant proponents making. we're going to see it play out around the state. the governor's proposed half a billion dollars for these port of triaces. it is one of those issues ihi everybody wants to solve but most people don't want to take the burden on for. >> in fairness to the wrap-around services,hat's how you're going to transition people into long-term stability. generally people don't want people in their bkyards. they tend to fight things less vigorously. if you put that over by the presidio heights, ibet you'd have the same kind of complaints from those neighborhoods as well. >> and there's a growing consensus, maybe a not a big one but let's put them there. that we don't have a choice.
this lot can be built more quickly and the city alreadyns it, which makes it so attractbive. thing that has ingended so much of the response is the inflation that homelessness equates to dirty, dangerous neighborhood and that a shelter to house homeless people is going to rueen the neighborhood.'s thahere this comes from. we have to move on to national politics as well. today a private lawyer for president trump told them not to release t release presint's tax returns. th the ways and means committee is requesting six yes of returns. is there any argument treasury secretary mnuchin could use to say no? >> number one, it's under law for ways and means.
that said they have to have meaningful reason why they have to turn those records over. and they don't have that meaningful reason. es for you a can't just fishing expudition to attack donald trump or anybody else for that matter. so if they had a reason, through any oftiheir invtive work where they could prove criminal activities done nt to see the auditing prauszess. >> they didn't get him on the mueller report and other issues. so i think this is fishing expedition. he was on the trainal after d trump was elected about how he was going to go after trump and now he's living up to that politics. >> certainly mocrats would love this for political reasons. you can't ignore the fact that we have a president who has main
tinned business interests, whose ons are controlling it. >> and the only president since -- >> and there are very legitimate questions about whether the president is using hoffice to enrich himself, family and friends. i the argume republicans will make is what sean laid out and i think this will end up in court. >> i want to talk about the subpoena. they voted to approve a subpoena to try to attorney general william barr release the full mule report. dominic, do the democrats face a back lash insteof just movingn to maybe economic issues? >> maybe so. i think there will be a tipping point. and i don't think it's very far away beforer it feeds into the witch hunt narrative. i'm interested in what they think they can get out of this
information that bob mueller hia did not regardless of politics. what are they going to find? >> w barr rr's smagz of the report accurate as well. so we don't know what we don't know. >>or the democrats, screamed bloody murder for two yes. give the man time if anyone tries to slow or sut down t investigation, we're going to take action,e right? all sudden we got to issue ut poenas to get it tomorrow? >> this is not we're going to hear for sure. thank you all. > since 2011 deaths have doubled. meth is now considered a public
health crisis in san francisco. last year nearly hf the visits to the psychiatricemergency at san francisco general were by people high on meth. in february san francisco mayor london breed announced a task force. joining me to discuss meth's comeback is health corresondent. nice to see you. so obviously a bigroblem in san francisco, meth use. how widespread is the epidemic outside ofn francisco? >> it varies from region to region.i general what we're seeing is a rise in stimult use opposed to the opioid epidemic. more cocaine and pcp on the east coast. but meth is much bigger in the west. so besidesit san francisco o big in los angeles. there's also pockets in denver
and growing in texas as well. so within the west and the midwest, 70% of local law enforcement agenses say meth their biggest drug threat. >> 70%? that is enormous. and you interviewed a number of meth addicts. >> at first meth can give you a really euphoric feeling.ou makesappy, confident. women d to a number of and they talk about how it makes you productive a
they think someone is after them. they're break nothing to people's homes. fe>> it can make yo really paranoid. and that's why psychiatric emergencies at the local hospital are so hih. you actually can't tell it the difference between someone who is really high on meth, called meth-induced psychois and someone who has chronic schizophrenia. they look the same. >> i remember the covering the meth epidemic in e early 2000 because you could find the ingredients in deconjestants in there drugs and congress cracked down it went away. why is it a makincomeback now? >> they left a void but someone was going to come in and fill it because people are still willing to buy drugs.
so mexican rtels moves into the void. so a lot off meth is ma in mexico but brought to los angeles, which is one of the distribu rest of the country. >> and it's become very pure and cheap, about $5 a hit. >> that's one of the reasons people are buying it. >> and three for opioid addiction and yet nothing for meth. why is that? >> its to the do with the science. in the brain the are opioid recepts and these drugs have been developed target those specific recepts. but when you use meth, it effects the etire brain, so there isn't anything scientists can use to zero oin on sometng drktly. lots of things have been tried.
antipsychotics and we're left with behavioral treatments. and in our health care system are difficult. they take a long time. they're expensive. >> you inerviewed trishaiy>ñ sanrd studying why some people are particularly susceptible. d why would that help with uture treatments? >> underconventional treatment, conventional rehab, 50% of meth users will endtp relapsing n a year. so scientistsat stanford are looking at mris while people look at pictures of drugs that stimulate their interest. it's really intereing. they found that there is a very specific p the brain that lights up.
and so in discovering this, they'in h that will lead to more directed treatments down the line. b for now, like you said behavioral therapy, ws thatat they're having to rely on and other incentives that seem to work with addicts? >> so there is a contingency management and there's a program in san francisco that does this. people come in three time as eek, pea in a cup and take a iest. and every they test negative, they get paid. er it goe u to $10 over the course of 12 weeks. and it works. we use it for weight loss. it'serer the same kind of things used to teach children how to behave. but a you can imagine taxpayers notiking the idea of our state
programs paying drug user to not use drugs so most insurers don't cover it. >> what do youhink is the biggest challenge in trying to address it had this? >> the opioid miepi is -- and from a sort of public perspectiven somebody ods on opioids, they're kind of passed out on t sidewalk. but when someone has used too much meth, youget that paranoia. the psychosis.le pemaybe running into the middle of the street, disrespecting traffic. so it's more of a public nuisance, if you will. i think it srupts society in a different way. deaths have gone u the absolute number of deaths are not nearly the same as
opioids and that has made it difficult to get more atntentio, more money, more resources. >> thank you so much. >> and you can hear the rodio documtary at www.california report.org. turning now to state politics. california could soon clear the criminal records of millions of people. statebl ass member it offered the measured believed to be the first of itkind. it can be a major barrier to finding work, p housing lic benefits. roughly 8 million could get relief without having to pay any money or petition state courts. joining me to discuss this and other legislative priorities. nice to have you back. >> thanks for having me. >> first i'd like the ask you
abtpg&e's shake up of the board of directors and the appointment of another ceo >> the board 's been takenover by a number of hedge fund folks who seem like they have the interest of mun oney over the interss of rate payers. so we want to be sure we have an entity organization that's going to come out of it and serve the rate payers better. i think we'll have to wait and se >> let's talk about your criminal justice bill. the crimes eligible to be wiped out are misdemeanors or low level felonies like drug offenses. why do you feel it's necessary to do this?ig >> now millions of californians. and underneath that are millins already eligible to have their records cleared. many times you can get arrested
and you're never convicted of anything but that stays on yourricered and if you apply for housin you may have to answer questions about some very minor conviction. at we know is for these millions of californians, gt's hard employment, housing. so if we can automate that system. right now they can clear that record but it takes time, hiring a lawyer, going to court. taks money. >> $150. >> that's right. have the attorney general's office do it. have one da base thget to the aourts and the courts could say that infoon is being with held. >> some thing you could have gone farther and followed colorado which authorized the courts acquitted of charges or acquitted as charges were diissed. >> so we tried that approach lastear and couldn't get it out of appropriations because
the courts came in and id that was very difficult to do, they haven't spent a lot of time, money, and effort. so we wanted to take a step back look at a process that was cheaper and more streamlined. you have one party that does it, that way it's consistent around the state. and it the counties with hold thatti infor. >> let's talk about the college admissions scanl as well 13 bay area parents are ang those charged including an entrepreneur who indicated this week he will be among the first to plead guilty.yo authored a bill in response to the skantdal acandal. what would your measure do? >> so this measure really deals with the legal back door peep coming into. realit dealing donors and alumni. right now you have many elite universities. they reserve an express door of
sorts for people who donate or umni. they get 21 million in grants for low income students that go to usc. but they reserve 19% of their slots foronors and alumni. er >> children of donors and alumni. er >> right. what we want to do is say if you take the money from the state, you shoun't show a preference for donors or oalumni. one front doorwhere avr within gets admitted and evaluated. >> how would y go about monitoring that though? >> once you pass laws, you have to do follow up and make sure they do amend their policy. bu they at first would have to do it on their own. >> sort of on the merit cystsm at first? >> well, initially but we would do follow up oversight and do hearings to understand what the data is. there isn a lot of published data. they keep all that information to themselves.
so one start would be to get more informatio more data to understand. 19% is not published anywhere on their website, we found that information via blog in a news article. >> and you're a big fan of long receipts. i'm joking. frory have a bill barring retailers from giving out printedeipts unless they ask forthem. but what else are you working on these days whauts what's your priority in terms of upcoming legislation? >> that is one of our priorities. we want people to actually be able to offer digital receipts first after 2022 anden the pele who want paper reseats can ask for them. that's to us very important. for the environment, yes. >> what aboour upcoming priorities? what's coming down the pipeline
for you? >> i have two major pieces of housing legislation. one around accessories dwelling units and thue other around surplus public land. this would insure i gets offered to affordable housing delopers first with dwelling units known as granny flats, is would streamline the process throughout the state. right now you have t of sit suburban wealthy cities have pretty much bannedthem. but in-laws are a way to get affordable house nothing to communities. >> wr know gover newsome's budget he unveiled focussed on health care and early chin. hood educat are there certain provisionou feel you may have trouble backing? >> overall the broad vision of
the budge we're very supportive of and what we'rer doing is getting into the details. got a proposal on housing ans homelessn we want to take a look at early education pieceswe i think very supportive overall. >> thank you for coming in and sharing with us your legislative priorities. and that will do it for us. assall was you can find more of our coverage at kqed.o/newsroom. thank you for joining us.
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